Director Jeremy Dribble releases his new film this week. He is well known for his unique style of cinema, in which he uses stop-motion cameras and taxidermy to tell charming but bizarre stories about anthropomorphic sport-playing animals.
His latest film tells the story of a pair of badgers who struggle to play at Wimbledon's doubles tennis tournament, and are ultimately beaten by a combination of poorly maintained racquets and dishonest ballboys. Entitled "Game, Sett and Match", it is hoped that it will do better than Dribble's previous films.
Dribble's first film was released in 2000, and was about a group of chickens who play cricket for the fictional county Cluckmannanshire. In the film, the chickens play cricket very impressively holding the bat in their beak, but are found lacking at catching the ball. The film was called "Egg Before Wicket" and broke box office records for a stuffed animal film. It won an award for "Best Stuffed Chicken" at the taxidermy Oscars.
In 2002 Dribble became famous with "The Beautiful Game", about a group of football-playing deer who fail to qualify for the first round of the FA Cup due to an over-eager poacher-turned-referee. That film took seven years to shoot, which Dribble managed to cram into two years by filming multiple scenes simultaneously, and cleverly reusing the same footage of a deer playing football over and over again.
His follow-up was something of a disappointment. "Tae Kwan Doe" featured a martial-arts fighting rabbit, but was given an 18 rating for excessive violence. In the closing scenes, the rabbit Stu gambles his life in his final fight. His opponent, Meowy the cat, eats him in a terrifying live-action sequence. It is the only scene in any of Dribble's films which uses real animals instead of animated stuffed animals, which led fans to accuse him of selling out.
Dribble's last film was somewhat ignored. Despite featuring heavy product placement for Formula 1, "Bear Pit Stop" was a straight-to-video release. Featuring a grizzly bear in the competitive world of motor racing, it was slated for the clumsy scenes where a man in a badly made bear suit could clearly be seen driving the car. However, in the remainder of the film, the animation of the impressively stuffed bear was praised, particularly the disco dancing scene.
Dribble will probably never reach the mass audience that he dreams of, although in future he has suggested using stuffed humans to film a remake of Watership Down.
"Game, Sett and Match" opens in cinemas throughout the country this week.